I went to Koh Phangan twice. First part was so adventurous and unplanned. Second part was more pleasure but a bit boring.
From Chiang Mai, we took a bus to Mae Sai because we thought we could see one of the biggest waterfall there. Ending up, we could not because of a bad weather condition. I thought I would come back to Chiang Mai and pack my stuff to BKK later. Yet, I did a crazy trip with A to BKK from Mae Sai. I always remember those travels. Without A, I do not think I can make it the same way again
Some facts and referenced info during the trip
– Chiang Mai to Mae Sai: by bus from Arcades Bus Terminal for around 5 hours. We took Green Bus Company. Rate was 279B. You can take an original buses (without AC) for less than 100B. We departed from Chiang Mai at 11.45AM, without booking tickets in advance. More info can be found here
– Guesthouse in Mae Sai: pretty cheap. We stayed at a 300B room for 3 people for one night. Not bad at all. From the Bus Terminal, we got out of the main gate, turned right, walked for at least 20mins to the town, passed an Indian restaurant on the left side… the guesthouse was on a little alley, quiet and clean. Shared bathroom though.
– Food and Drink: pretty cheap and delicious. I think food here is the cheapest one 🙂 You can find many Burmese food here as well.
We did not spend much time visiting/wandering in the town. We just went to a beer place full of Thai people and got two towers of beer Chang. I am not a big fan of Thai beers. It is alright.
In the following morning, one of my travel partner left to BKK earlier. A and I missed a bus to BKK so we decided to break our trip by taking a bus to Tak where we could connect our trip to BKK.
From Mae Sai Bus Terminal, there are many mini vans to Tak, every 30 minutes, rate 78B and around 1.5hours. Note: you will not pay anything at the bus terminal in Mae Sai, but a little bus stop by a market in town. We did not know. We sat on the bus during the time because I thought someone would collect money from us. Actually, we paid for tickets in a house where there were a lady at a small desk. Anyway, we got on the mini van to Tak. I always do not like mini vans which easily make me car sick
Trip from Chiang Mai to Mae Sai or Mae Sai to Tak, all means of transportation can be stopped by immigration officers to check your passport. It is very simple: they get in the car, look at your face. If you are not lucky enough, they will say “passport” to you. Your job is to show your passport to them and smile. That’s it 🙂
From Tak, we took a AC bus to BKK (for 7 hours, paid 245B per pax). We waited for 30mins without knowing what was going on. The trip was nice to us. I still do not know why the bus stopped many times during the way and pick more passengers up on the bus. Many of them had to stand in the isle for at least 30minutes.
We started in Mae Sai at 11AM and arrived in BKK around 10PM-ish. We were late for a bus to Surat Thani which was supposed to depart at 11PM.
We arrived at MoChit Bus Terminal, took a taxi to Bangkok Bus Terminal (almost 100B something). We missed the latest bus to Surat Thani. We took a taxi (100B-ish) to Kao San Rd to meet our travel partner P and spent a whole night there; eating, drinking and talking until 3AM we took a taxi (90B-ish) again back to Bangkok Bus Terminal for the earliest bus to Surat Thani. I was totally exhausted. Thanks to A, I could manage to get some sleep at the bus terminal while we waited for the bus at 6.20AM
We arrived at Surat Thani around 5PM-ish and again missed the 6PM ferry to Koh Phangan (which is pretty cheap, around 200B-ish). A and I decided to take a night ferry then (400B per pax, in 4 hours). After putting our bags on the boat, we wandered in a nearby night market, got some good food. This town is quite nice and seems to be more Chinese and Malaysian than other places in Thailand, I think.
This island, I think, is just for party animals. During the day, many people go swimming and sunbathing. I got too much sunburn here because I did not apply sun lotion. Silly me. At night, there are too many bucket-selling stalls along the beach, which make it too noisy full of dancing music and light. It will be totally fine if you are there with a group of friends and dance and get drunk.
A bucket is various, range of 100B to 300B, mixed with cheap whisky to a real ones. Food and drink in general is not special and a bit expensive.
We stayed at Paradise Bungalow, 300B per night. A’s friends stayed before and waited for us. I had fun with all of them.
I did a long trip by myself from Chiang Mai to BKK and to Surat Thani where I met A at the night ferry. The trip was so long and I slept most of the time on the buses.
From Chiang Mai, I took a bus (300B at Julie GH) to BKK which was broken on the way. Luckily, thanks to my dear friend Pr, I got on a next bus and sat next to a Thai lady who talked to me a lot about her love story with an old American man. I arrived in BKK at 6.30AM, one hour later than usual and took a taxi (150B) going straight to BKK Bus Terminal for a 7.30AM bus to Surat Thani with Transport Company. This time, everything was fine. I got help from an old Thai man, mainly he helped to translate into English for me whenever the bus stopped.
I came to Surat Thani around 5.30PM or later a bit and negotiated with a song taew driver to go to a night ferry (50B, much cheaper than the first time, 150B for 2pax – I knew it should be cheaper but I was so tired to carry all my stuff to go to the main road). A came later around 7PM. I was so happy to see A again. We went back to the same restaurant for a chicken steamed rice 🙂 Everything seemed easier this time.
We paid 100B per pax for a taxi to the South Beach. We were not really lucky. All GH were full. We checked 2 places. Finally we got a bungalow at Sea Breeze Bungalow, a bit far from the beach but it was alright when A was with me. Rate was 500B per night, free wifi at a restaurant area, a swimming pool. Not bad for a Full Moon Party time.
Way back to BKK from Koh Phangan
We decided to buy tickets from a tour agency, 650B per pax including pick-up service at noon, a boat from Koh Phangan to Surat Thani, transfer in Surat Thani to BKK bus and a 730PM bus to BKK, dropped off in Kao San Rd.
Note: always aware about stealing things from your backpacks. Always keep valuable things with you.